manufacturing of a controlled substance

First degree manufacturing of a controlled substance in Alabama

The charge of manufacturing a controlled substance in Alabama is a serious enough crime, but when that charge is in the first-degree, you can be looking at the most serious consequences.  Drug charges can be defended as any other criminal charge can.  However, understanding the elements the State must prove and the extent of the potential punishment.

Alabama’s law on manufacturing a controlled substance

A controlled substance is defined as any drug that has been determined to be dangerous, habit-forming, or otherwise inappropriate for use without a prescription.  There are federal laws that were also enacted for the purpose of categorizing these controlled substances, based on the factors such as their medical benefits and their potential for abuse.  Alabama Code §13A-12-218 provides that the manufacture of a controlled substance in the first-degree is a Class A felony, punishable with life in prison.

What makes it a first “degree” charge?

A drug manufacturing charge is considered “first degree,” the most serious form of the charge, whenever one of the following is present:

  • A firearm;
  • A booby trap;
  • The illegal disposal, transportation or possession of any dangerous or hazardous material in furtherance of a clandestine laboratory operation, which posed a serious risk to either the environment or human health and safety;
  • A clandestine laboratory operation that was within 500 feet of a home, business, school or church;
  • A clandestine laboratory that was found to have produced a specified amount of a controlled substance;
  • A clandestine laboratory that produced either Schedule I or Schedule II narcotics;
  • There was a person under the age of 17 who was there during the process of the manufacturing.
  • 13A-12-218, Ala. Code (1975).

The dangers of drug manufacturing

One of the most common drugs manufactured is methamphetamine, of which there have developed different types.  Certainly, every type of methamphetamine lab is potentially dangerous, red phosphorus methamphetamine is particularly hazardous because it emits toxic gases during the cooking process. According to some officials, the red phosphorus labs are not as common in Alabama as other kinds of clandestine meth labs.  A law has been passed making it more difficult to purchase the products necessary to produce methamphetamine – specifically, pseudoephedrine, which is an over-the-counter cold medication that happens to be the critical ingredient.

If you have questions regarding drug manufacturing charges, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

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